Istiadat Bersiram at Istana
By Azaraimy HH

The country yesterday witnessed a centuries-old royal ceremony in Islamic tradition, Istiadat Bersiram, at Istana Nurul Iman, following the recent birth of YAM Pengiran Anak Abdul Hafeez, the first born to HRH Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah and Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil.

The almost-three-hour ceremony, passed down for generations, started before noon with the arrival of Pengiran-Pengiran Cheteria, Cabinet Ministers, Honourary Members of the Legislative Council, Deputy Ministers, Pengiran-Pengiran Peranakan, Pehin-Pehin Manteri and Manteri-manteri Hulubalang, Permanent Secretaries and other distinguished guests at the Surau Istana.

The female guests made their way to the Balai Singgahsana Indera Kenchana, Istana Nurul Iman.

As the dignitaries took their seats as they arrived, a 'Bintang Petian', a traditional teacup set was brought in.

Not long after, the Pehin-Pehin Khatib and Begawan-Begawan Pehin Khatib and the Mudim-Mudim took seating positions at the central area of the ceremony.

The Pehin-Pehin Khatib and Begawan-Begawan Pehin Khatib, as well as Mudim-Mudim, are religious figures who lead the Berzikir ceremony.

Before the Berzikir and other rituals commenced, Pehin Orang Kaya Di Gadong Seri Lela made his way to ask for the consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Negara Brunei Darussalam that the Istiadat Bersiram Ceremony was ready to start.

As soon as Pehin Orang Kaya Di Gadong Seri Lela asked for the consent, it was passed to YDM Pehin Penyurat.

Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja entered the Surau Istana and was given the "Bintang Petian" after he took his sit.

Pehin Orang Kaya Di Gadong Seri Lela entered the ceremony, took his seat and was also given the "Bintang Petian".

Then, YDM Pehin Penyurat requested to leave the ceremony.

Soon after, four 'Awang-Awang' entered the ceremony to place or position the 'Dian Empat', royal candles of four, and left the room.

The traditional rites continued with the Awang-Awang bringing in Surat Zikir, Bantal Guling and Pabarahan into the ceremony.

The Berzikir ceremony commenced with the recital of Surah al-Fatihah led by YDM Pehin Khatib and continued with the Zikir Assalaimualaikum.

The Bezikir ceremony continued with the recital of Rawi (Al-Berzanji Nasar), followed by the recital of Zikir Assrakal Badru. When it arrived at the stage "Ya Habibi" was recited and 17 blasts of cannon were fired.

While this happened, YDM Pehin Penyurat and Pehin Bendahari, as well as the Awang-Awang entered the room with "anchit", or perfume containing 'Minyak Attar' and sprayed it, beginning from the right side of the ceremony.

After the completion of Doa Zikir, a doa selamat was recited by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned, State Mufti.

Before the ceremony ended, the Awang-Awang returned to the ceremony to collect back the Surat Zikir, Bantal Gaguling and Pabarahan as well as the 'Dian Empat'. - Borneo Bulletin (2nd May 2008)